Rally Sweden was full of hardships but setup for the gravel rallies were found
Last year everything went perfectly for Jari-Matti Latvala in Rally Sweden. This year the problems with handlig the car as well as a crash occured on Friday made the rally troublesome. Latvala was the twelfth and Sebastien Ogier grabbed the victory.
There was the unfinished car testing behind Latvala’s hardships.
The way to handle the car on the snow was missing.
– Compared to last year this car is 50 percent of new. The things in the car that were ok last year, don’t necessarily work in this version, Latvala said about the challenges of the tests.
– During the rally we found that I’ve made the rear of the car too tight and I was a bit lost with the car setup. Luckily I got the setup to right position on the final day of the rally. Then the car felt good for first time in these conditions, Latvala said.
The third of the route of Rally Sweden was new compared to the route driven last year. Visit in Norway on Friday offered most new things, but the rest of the rally was driven on fast and well-known roads of Värmland.
Latvala opened the rally as slightly uncertainly but nearly reached the leading position due to Sebastien Ogier’s crash on special stage of Torsby, which took half minute. Then Latvala’s car slipped out of the road only a few hundred meters from the finish which caused a loss of over eight minutes.
– I came a little too fast to the bend. I thought that there would have been better friction but it wasn’t. The rear of the car slipped out of the road and then the front of the car slided to the snow bank.
Usually that kind of situation doesn’t cause anything but this time we got stuck, Latvala said disappointedly.
1,6 seconds from the WRC points
Latvala spent Saturday on testing the car but couldn’t find the right kind of feeling to drive. As a evidence of this he slipped out of the road for the second time which, however, didn’t took much time.
– We tried to change the balance of the car and worked hard with stabilizers and other things but it just didn’t help.
Not before than Sunday the car setup felt in place and Latvala drove fastest time of the rally, for third time. Latvala was the fastest on the end stage of the rally, Powerstage of Vårmullsåsen, but despite that he left only 1,6 seconds from the third position and from one WRC-point.
– On the second driving time the surface of the road was so slippery for the first driver on the route. I couldn’t done any better, Latvala described the Powerstage.
– However, now I know that car basic setup is ok and ready for graveled roads of the competitions coming this spring.
Latvala’s team mate from VW Motorsport, Sebastien Ogier, took win in Rally Sweden and Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville was second, 6,4 seconds behind Ogier. Just like Latvala, also his VW team mate Andreas Mikkelsen had some misfortune during the rally: he led the rally before the final stage but dropped to third position after slipped out of the road to snow bank in Vårmullsåsen.
Latvala gave up battling after final stage to be able to renew car parts for upcoming rallies.
He didn’t received any WRC points, so this was better decision when thinking the next competitions.
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